Value and Equivalence

International Conference on the Genesis and Transformation of Values from an Archaeological and Anthropological Perspective

9th - 10th of May 2019

Why are some things valuable while others are not? How much effort does it take to produce certain valuable objects? How can the different appreciation of certain things in different time horizons and in different culture be explained?

Over the past nine years, the Research Training Group “Value and Equivalence” has investigated the ways in which value is linked to material things. From anthropology and archaeology, case studies with very different answers to the introductory questions had been found in the course of this time. We assigned them to the research fields (I) Production and Transformation, (II) Circulation and Genesis, and (III) Market and Trade in Goods. One of the common results is the finding that it is rarely the value of the material itself that matters for high valuation, but rather the appreciation of the origin of certain objects or their connection with certain social structures. Value arises through social action, whereby it is always necessary to ask anew, which actors are interested in the value of certain objects (or in their appreciation), or which actors disput seemingly objective values.

The conference will present results from the RTG as well as insights from international guests, and will demonstrate different forms of generation or maitenance of value. Arranged according to the thematic fields mentioned, the anthropological and archaeological case studies deal with the manifold links between objects, substances or places and the associated social structures.

Boris Burandt - Hans Peter Hahn – Markus Scholz

Eisenhower-Room 1.314, Campus Westend
Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany